Purpose: Existing research highlights gender as an important dimension for entrepreneurship theory and practice. This study aims to explore the differences between female and male sustainable entrepreneurs in the areas of previous professional experiences, their performance and growth, their use of financial resources and their overall attitude to risk.
Design/methodology/approach: Through a feminist perspective and on the basis of empirical evidence gathered through a series of 20 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with male and female sustainable entrepreneurs in the UK, thr authors analyse differences between male and female sustainable entrepreneurs.
Findings: The findings suggest that female role models play a significant role in the emergence of women sustainable entrepreneurs who start from the same experience levels as men, show strong feminist attitudes and are conscious of their contribution to global sustainability. Sustainable entrepreneurship offers women professional development and a limited flexibility to balance work and family commitments. Lack of funding appears to be a major constraint applying to both female and male participants, while the authors argue that business pragmatism in a difficult investment environment triggered women’s reluctance to take on debt. Nonetheless, female sustainable entrepreneurs were found to have developed and used their professional and social networks to a greater extent than their male counterparts.
Originality/value: This study offers a new gender perspective to the research of sustainable entrepreneurship and, at the same time, contributes with findings from research on sustainable entrepreneurs to the study of gender in management.
- Financial resources
- Gender differences in sustainable entrepreneurship
- Performance and growth
- Role models
- Social networks